Features August 2009 Issue

Stroke Treatment Window Widens, but a Fast Response is still Crucial

Research shows the clotbusting drug rt-PA can work if given after four and a half hours, but itís more effective the sooner it is administered.and a half hours, but itís more effective the sooner it is administered.

While a recent study suggests that the window of time a stroke patient can benefit from the clotbusting drug rt-PA (recombinant tissue-plasminogen activator) has been extended from three hours to four and a half hours from the start of symptoms, you should still get to a hospital as quickly as possible. Javier Provencio, MD, with the Cleveland Clinic Cerebrovascular Center, says the findings published in the May issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, should not be seen as an opportunity to delay an emergency room visit. "Even that study showed that itís more effective the sooner itís given," Dr. Provencio says. "The bottom line is that the sooner you get to a hospital, the better your odds of having a good outcome."

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